REVIEW: ALTRA INSTINCT 2.0

Altra Instinct 2.0

Please Altra, don’t lose the plot. You’re my shoe.


Someone with no experience with Instincts might be really pleased with the Altra Instinct 2.0. But I’d venture to say those of us who’ve been wearing them since the Original, will notice immediately how far Altra has strayed.

I’ve got so many pairs of Altras, it’s kind of a problem. I started with the Original Instinct, graduated to a 1.5 and now a 2.0. I’ve got Lone Peak 1.5’s, Original Torins and a pair of Everyday Shoes. In total I’ve owned about 9 or 10 pairs. But when I took these shoes out of the box, honestly I was confused. What had been a fairly svelte shoe in its previous versions is now a boxy boat. I knew from the pictures online that this was a different shoe, but I guess I was in denial about how different.

You guys reference in your description that this “…award-winning workhorse.. has been upgraded…” Well, so much so that I’d venture to say it’s part of the Instinct family now only by name. The last and cushioning is totally different. They’re practically Torins, if not more. Why would you switch the last so significantly? Why change what wasn’t broken and had resulted in industry recognition and awards? Yes, there were some sizing issues and durability problems reported with the 1.5, but you could have taken the materials of the 2.0 upper and built them on the original, proven Instinct last. I’m bummed about this trend towards more cushioning with Altras as well. You walked a middle path before, and now it seems Altra is following the latest trend. For those interested in a visual comparison, I’ve posted some customer images of the 3 incarnations of this shoe side by side.

What the 2.0 does have going for it is the zero drop and the wide toe box. I also like that they’ve retained a subdued black color scheme, and though I’ve only run in them about 50 miles, the upper looks fairly durable. The laces are a bit stingy, but I’ve been able to make them work. A night runner, unfortunately there’s little reflective material on this version, so don’t depend on it. The 1.5’s were great in that respect.

I found the fit peculiar, particularly across the forefoot. The fabric bunches quite a bit here, just below the lacing. This is something I’ve found with other Altra shoes, but not as significantly as with the 2.0’s. It’s more extreme, and I have a normal to wider foot.

Bunching fabric across the forefoot of the Altra Instinct 2.0
Note the bunching across the forefoot

As for length, the 2.0 returns to that of the Original Instinct. I generally wear a US11.5, had to bump up to a US12 in the Instinct 1.5 and am now back to a US11.5 in the 2.0. For reference, I also wear a US11.5 in the Lone Peak 1.5 and Everyday Shoe, and a US12 in the original Torin.

I don’t run in these a lot, preferring my earlier models. So much so that I bought old stock to hold me over until the next Instinct comes out. I just find these much more clumsy to run in and less graceful. Even the sound of my feet hitting the ground is louder. The Original and 1.5 feel much more nimble and provide better proprioception in my opinion. Hopefully, you guys will come around and return to the previous last. I really hope you do. The old last with the new upper and some added reflective material could have been a real win. Oh well.

In the meantime I’ll maybe give the One2 a shot. The increased stack height there seems to bring it around to what the Instinct was. It’s strange to me that the One2 is considered a light cushioning shoe, when it’s stack height is 1mm greater than the Instinct 1.5, and that is considered a moderate cushioning shoe… For what it’s worth, the whole cushioning rating on Altras, if taking into consideration previous models, appears to be all over the map now.

Please Altra, don’t lose the plot. You’re my shoe.

Originally posted by myself under the user name "Ergolad" on Amazon.
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